March 19, 2023

OPINION: Florida Democrats need a knockout from new chair Nikki Fried

OPINION: Florida Democrats need a knockout from new chair Nikki Fried

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Regarding the Florida Democratic Party, if this was a fight, it would have been stopped.  A towel would have been thrown in the ring from the far recesses of the arena.

As a former Golden Gloves boxer and referee, I find great comfort and lessons in the pugilistic realm of life.  I have used boxing metaphors often in my speaking and writings over the years.

The Florida Democrats constantly lean on the ropes without firing back.

Either they haven’t the wherewithal or know-how to spin off and move back to the center of the ring or they have just resigned themselves to losing–again.

Don’t think for a moment that the Republicans don’t leave themselves wide open when throwing punches.

It’s just that the Democrats cannot capitalize–or more aptly, they don’t know how to, even on a national level.

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After the train derailment in Ohio, did it not dawn on someone that Trump or any other Republican would show up there to highlight differences that exist?

Knowing this, knowing that everything, every decision would now be examined more closely under the political microscope, how can you lean back on the ropes and absorb blow after blow especially when it was so easy to anticipate that they would come out swinging?

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Again, they did not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

But back to the Florida Democrats.

I see a State Republican party that has been in the Governor’s Mansion since 1999, Senate Control since 1994, House Control since 1996.

They can snarl, growl, foam from the mouth with impunity much like Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and Mike Tyson did–they were feared, they were invincible.

They had opponents quivering before the first-round bell sounded.

As such, the opponents were fighting backing up, finding shelter, if one could call it that, along the ropes.

In other words, they rarely fought back.

It took a young brash Cassius Clay to stop Liston, an older more skilled and mature Muhammad Ali to drop Foreman, and an extremely determined Buster Douglas to end Tyson’s reign.

Brash, skilled, mature, and determined are a few of the qualities the Florida Democratic Party need so dearly.

Sure, Ali hung on the ropes against Foreman in 1974 in what became his heralded “Rope-A-Dope” but there was strategy to it.

It was to let George punch himself out before Ali went on the offensive.

I see very little strategy out of Florida Democrats, and they are paying a hefty price for it.

The Republicans think they cannot be beaten.  And guess what?  They’re correct–for now.

But everyone is undefeated until they lose, and then it is usually in a very big way. S

o what kind of strategy need be employed?

First, the fight needs to move back into the center of the ring.

The final round now appears to be in November 2024.

The strategy must cover the entire fight, not one round, thus, pacing oneself is paramount.

But more so, being in good conditioning and training hard will allow this to happen. You want to make that final round.

Governor Crist was out on his feet, so far behind on points in the recent governor’s race.

He needed a knock out to win but lacked the punch.

DeSantis was able to stay away and win big when the judges’ cards were tallied.

It was Tyson over Michael Spinks in 1988 all over again.

And Michael Spinks never laced up gloves again. It should be remembered he was undefeated as well coming into the fight.

He never thought he could win.  And he didn’t.

Same thing with the Florida Democratic Party.  They look just as Spinks did when he entered the ring on the warm June night.

I doubt the Republicans feel that can be touched, let alone, beaten and that would be the Democrats’ greatest ally–that being the Florida Republicans’ hubris.

I am reminded that when Ali stopped the previously undefeated Foreman in Zaire, Angelo Dundee was Ali’s cornerman just as he was for all his fights leading up to that moment.

When George Foreman made that incredible comeback culminating with him recapturing the heavyweight crown at the ancient age of 45 in 1994, Dundee was his cornerman.

Nikki Fried can be that needed Angelo Dundee right now.

He knew how to manage two completely different people and fighting styles.

And he got the most out of them, not to mention Sugar Ray Leonard, who, in his classic fight with Thomas Hearns on September 16, 1981, behind on points, late, Dundee calmly told him, in between rounds as Leonard sat on the stool, “You’re blowing it son.”

Ray responded and went on to TKO Hearns in the 14th.

Well, the Florida Democrats have blown it.

They need to start from scratch.

They need to foam from the mouth and bite ears.

They need to stop retreating and take control.

It’s there for the taking.

They, too, need to respond, but again, without a strategy, without sound advice from the corner in between rounds, it will be all for naught–AGAIN.

When Tyson was knocked out by a 42:1 underdog (Buster Douglas), his corner was in total disarray.

They were speaking in codes to him.  “Throw the one to the three, follow up with the two” instead of telling him to jab, move, and tie Douglas up.

They had no enswell, but, rather they used water balloons to keep the swelling down to Tyson’s face.

Here was their plan:  They had none.

Florida Democrats cannot be giving away the early rounds then seek desperately for a knockout late when they haven’t the power.

Ms. Fried is not averse to going on the offensive.  That is a good strategy.  While your opponent is covering up, he ain’t hitting you.

Make no mistake.  The time is now.

As Muhammad Ali so eloquently stated, “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”

David Magnusson is a retired police chief with 36 ½ years of law enforcement experience having spent 30 of these years with the Miami Police Department retiring as an assistant chief. He was chief of the Havelock Police Department in the Marine Corps City of Havelock, North Carolina, home to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He returned to South Florida as chief of the El Portal Police Department.

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He chaired the COVID and Domestic Violent Extremism Committees for the Association of Miami Dade County Chiefs of police. He teaches about Hate Crimes, Violent Extremism, and Inclusive Policing to law enforcement agencies.

A historian, Magnusson has written on military and presidential history topics. He is a diehard baseball (St. Louis Cardinals) and boxing fan. Magnusson resides in South Florida with his wife. Their children and grandchildren are never too far away.

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